With or without you? Policy impact and networks in the Council of the EU after Brexit

Författare: Huhe Narisong, Naurin Daniel, Thomson Robert

Brexit is likely to be a major chapter in the history of European integration. What will it mean for the negotiations and outcomes of the intergovernmental Council of the EU – and for the relative influence between the remaining member states – whether the UK is in or out?

This analysis focuses on the impact of Brexit on the decision-making processes in the Council. Both the legislative arena and the cooperative networks are therefore explored.

The analysis shows that the policy impact of Brexit is likely to be relatively modest. For the cooperative relationships, however, the changes may be substantial. Specifically, the findings show more negative effects for member states with the closest network ties to the UK, primarily Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The results of this analysis indicate the challenges that the remaining states need to address. Sweden and other Northern European states may be compelled to invest more in the bargaining process in order to defend their (often) liberal positions.